I spent my semester abroad from February to July 2014, and thus the autumn semester, at the University of Technology in Sydney.
Admittedly, Australia was only my plan B because I wanted to stay within Europe for the time being. In the end I have to say that it is the best decision to go to the other end of the world. Even if Australia is very similar to ours in terms of lifestyle, you can discover nature and landscape here that are completely different from that in Europe.
The course of study is also different from what I was used to at home.
Of course, I didn’t want to go abroad just because of the landscape and the sights. But I took the chance to move my studies abroad for six months.
I started planning a year and a half beforehand. But that had mainly to do with the course of studies at my home university. I am sure that this is not necessary so early.
I got to know the MicroEDU organization at an exhibition at my university and got an overview of the partner universities. At home I then selected a few possible target universities according to national language and country and clicked through the Internet pages. It was important for me that courses are offered that are also recognized here.
Since the match was highest at UTS and I was also very interested in Sydney, I started working on my application for the college.
Sabine from answerresume was a huge help to me. No matter what question I had, I could always get in touch with her and usually got an answer the next day or two or three days later. If she was not available, a colleague would answer. So I felt very well looked after.
The application included a form that I had to fill out. In addition, some information had to be confirmed by the home university. In addition, a certificate of performance in English and a certificate of English skills had to be attached. Since I had attended the advanced English course at school, a copy of the high school diploma was sufficient and I did not have to spend any money on a TOEFL test or the like.
A few months before my planned departure, I got my confirmation and was able to take care of visa, health insurance, etc.
The application process is not complicated and the other organizational things are also explained in an easy-to-understand way. Otherwise, as already mentioned, Sabine is at your side.
I booked my flight with STA-Travel. There, too, the service was really good and I always got a quick answer.
My flight started in Hamburg, with a change in Dubai and 22 hours after taking off in Germany, I landed in Australia.
Since I have a friend in Sydney, he picked me up.
But even if you don’t know anyone, the way from the airport to the city is not difficult. Every 15 minutes a train leaves the airport (the way from the terminal to the platform is clearly signposted) straight to the city center. The cost is around $ 16.
I heard that there is a counter at the airport where you can report and also get a starter package. I didn’t go there myself, though. But I am sure that you will get good help there, because the organization was always very good during my semester abroad.
Since, as already mentioned, I have a friend in Sydney, I was able to stay there for the first few days. So I started looking for somewhere to stay from Sydney. During the orientation days I came across a stand of the UTS Housing Services, which gave me an Internet address for an overview of agents who offer accommodation.
It was through this that I found the Study House on Harris Street. It is just a few minutes’ walk from the Tower Building and has only recently been renovated. You can choose between single and triple rooms. The house has four floors, all of which are separate from one another. You can only get to your own floor with your key. Up to eight people live on these floors and share the kitchen and bathroom. There were even two bathrooms on my floor.
It is cleaned once a week and it is really always clean.
After a while, however, I moved to the UTS dormitory. There are four of them. “My” dormitory was called Yura Mudang and is located above the design faculty. From the entrance you walk briefly through the design building, then over a small bridge that crosses Harris Street, and you are at the Tower Building.
In the other direction you can reach the Haymarket Campus in a maximum of 5 minutes.
Just like the UTS, the dormitory is incredibly central. The nearest train station is Central Station, one minute you are on George Street, one of the main streets in Sydney, and everything is very easy to reach by bus from here.
You pay good money for your room (either you live in a shared apartment or you have a studio apartment with your own bathroom), but you also have a very good offer. The dormitory has ping-pong tables, pool tables, and chess fields. There is a music room and a room with a screen, the “Theater”. A computer room with a printer can be used for university work and there is a room with washing machines, dryers and irons for housework. One cycle of washing or drying costs $ 2.
Events are offered every day. Both for free time and support for studies.
The highlight is probably the roof terrace, from which you have a small view of Sydney.
So I can only recommend the dormitory. You have very good opportunities to get to know people here.
Studying in Australia is very expensive, especially for international students.
But at least you have very good support. There are small departments in the university that help you in very different areas. There is help for international students, help with assignments that have to be written, help with financing problems for studying and help with organizing learning. The UTS also has its own practice, where UTS students and employees can get to appointments more quickly.
Regarding the course itself, you can say that it is different than at my home university. Here you have to work a lot more during the semester. There are tests during the semester, laboratories, homework or group work. In the middle of the semester there are mid-term exams, which are also included in the final grade. Depending on the course you choose, you may not have to write any exams and instead have two weeks off. Because the week of the mid-term exams is followed by a lecture-free week.
At the end of the semester, depending on the course, final exams were written.
The language wasn’t a problem for me. Otherwise, as I said, there are contact points that are available to assist you if you have difficulties in the lectures.
The workload is reasonable. I had lectures three days a week. In contrast to a friend who studies design, I also had a lot of free time, as she had to do chores that had to be submitted every day. I had time for a couple of weekend trips. That is not to say that the semester was purely a fun semester. A lot of laboratory reports had to be written at the end of the half year. But they are made in group work. So if you always stay on the ball, passing the subjects is not a problem at all.
SYDNEY AND AUSTRALIA
Sydney of course offers many possibilities for excursions. Excursions in the area are offered during the orientation weeks. Highly recommended are the Coogee to Bondi Walk and the Blue Mountains! But you can also discover this very easily on your own. Otherwise there are of course the typical sights, such as the Opera House and Habour Bridge.
You should definitely take the ferry and go to a few places. The Sydney area is beautiful!
If you have the time, get out of Syndey and see other parts of Australia. Most famous is the east coast with the Whitsunday Islands, Fraser Island, Byron Bay and so on. Many places are worth a trip.
You should definitely use every free minute to discover the country!
About life in Australia: The people are much more open than here in Germany. I only really became aware of this after I landed back in Germany. Often times, the cashier simply approaches you and engages you in the conversation. People are also just more relaxed.
Although the country is a little more expensive than here at home, you can also find some places where you can find cheaper alternatives (e. g. Paddy’s Market, there are good quality fruits and vegetables much cheaper than in the supermarket).
I haven’t regretted a cent or a second that I went to Australia. The country is beautiful and the people are very open and warm.